Envy: Vice or Virtue?

Sunday, January 27, 2019

What is it

Bertrand Russell said that envy was one of the most potent causes of unhappiness, and it's well known as one of the seven deadly sins. But is envy always a bad thing? Is it simply a petty emotion we should try to avoid, or could envy help us understand ourselves more? Is envy rooted in unhealthy comparison with others, or does it come from our own vision of excellence? Could envy even be used to improve ourselves? Josh and Ken consider whether to envy their guest, Sara Protasi from the University of Puget Sound.

Comments (2)

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Wednesday, January 9, 2019 -- 3:21 PM

I am not much into the 'seven

I am not much into the 'seven deadlies' anymore. Those are passe, for the purposes of modernity., inasmuch as almost no one believes in everlasting life or any other such nonsense. There was something in The Atlantic, which fired a neuron though. It had to do with AUTHENTICITY. I fired off a response, which I copied to your partner, Conner, which , hopefully, he might share with all of you. There are always at least three ways of looking at anything---usually more...

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Saturday, January 26, 2019 -- 10:43 AM


Allegedly, the following quote was attributed to W.C. Fields-" I went to Philadelphia once; it was closed."

I awoke this morning in the United States and learned that she was again open for business. Allegedly.

There are more than enough sins to go around and this has always been so. How anyone might entertain the notion of envy as a virtue is beyond the breadth of my mind's wrapping paper. Having said that, I can, 'sorta', recognize that, for my experience and the current state of this world, I live at a disadvantage. Nothing much I can do about this, other than getting along as best possible; treating those I know and respect with tolerance and courtesy; and remembering for my own edification something called the serenity prayer. Some reading this will know that little incantation. Others might Google it. Everyone else will go about their business, none the wiser... I bid them peace.


Sara Protasi, Professor of Philosophy, University of Puget Sound


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